Teaching Moments
PC Gamer|July 2019
Teaching Moments

How developers build the tutorials you skip.

Xalavier Nelson Jr

Luca Redwood makes puzzle games. Quite good ones, if the reception of You Must Build a Boat and 10,000,000 are anything to go by. His new game, Photographs, is a narrative puzzle adventure that uses adaptive tutorials. Nothing is revealed about what you’re supposed to do or how you’re supposed to do it unless you trigger invisible code that reveals a specific bit of information. The vast majority of instruction doesn’t use text for a simple reason, “Some people will read your text,” Redwood says, “but most won’t.”

It’s a common piece of knowledge in development circles that no matter how important it is, many players will avoid or miss pieces of your tutorial. They clearly need to know how to play the game – how do you move past their natural reluctance with as much success as possible?

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July 2019